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#1   Sapiéntia

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 05:57 AM

It's just an idea that I thought I'd try out, to see if it would gain any activity or recognition amongst the board. We're all aware that Ligue 1 isn't the most popular league in Europe, nor does it have a large fan basis here on Tiki-Taka, but hopefully this thread will showcase some good talents who play their club football here in France.

I was thinking that someone would nominate a player to be discussed, and we can all post our thoughts on said player; strengths, weaknesses, potential... anything, really. Now I know I could just google the player to find out a little information about certain players, but it doesn't answer all the questions about all the players, and I'd much rather read the intellectual insight of our fellow members as opposed to uninformed drivel written elsewhere on the web.

I'm not sure on the format and how this will "run" exactly, so it's subject to change, but for now, I'll pick a player and we can discuss said player in detail.

Discussion #1: Yann M'Vila.

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M'Vila is a great place to start this discussion, I feel. There's so much to talk about with him, though I'm pretty sure it'll be hard for us to extrapolate many faults within his game. He's merely 21 years young yet his presence on the pitch is that of a much more experienced customer. He's very strong, powerful, agile and most-impressively, technically-gifted. It's not that common you see players who play deeper with great technical ability, but M'Vila is very astute in that respect.

Since deputising for Rennes in 2009 after being snapped up as a youth prospect, he's gone on to be an integral part of their team whilst only having broken through the ranks a couple of season's ago. Since then, he's also managed to rack up 17 full-international caps... and the most impressive part of that is that he doesn't look out of place alongside players who have been amongst the international scene for many years.

He's already been targeted by Wenger, and I'm sure many other clubs are paying close attention to his progress as he's definitely a player that looks to have a bright future.

What are your thoughts?

Edited by 0, 07 December 2011 - 05:58 AM.


#2   nakuu

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 04:41 PM

Great idea, Greg! Nice first choice too, a player that is definitely going to be on everyone's radar come this summer with an increase in his pricetag depending on his performances at Euro2012 which I think i can safely assume he will be a part of.

He's such an immense player with great physical strength. Whenever I see him play for Les Bleus, I cannot believe he's 21. He doesn't ever seem out of focus and always plays so disciplined. He's not one to make hasty tackles or dangerous passes and I can't really remember many times when he has put the ball in a dangerous situation for his team. He's also got a very level head and I've never seen him lose his temper despite playing in a position where he faces many challenges. He's definitely not the first person that I would blame for a goal because it's not very often he has a defensive lapse.

I guess the only thing that I would say he could improve on is maybe getting the ball forward a bit more because with M'vila you have a player with great defensive abilities but offensively he will rely more on his partner in midfield to get things going. He doesn't link up as well with forwards but then again that's not really his job in the team although I think it would add another dimension to his play. But for me, he has the potential be the top DM in Europe and is possibly one of the best in France. He displaced Alou Diarra, who was a favourite of Blanc's, as soon as he started playing for Les Bleus. In particular, when we faced Albania and he was forced off due to injury, our passing in midfield suddenly seemed more disjointed and it suddenly seemed like we were missing the 'piece'.


#3   noobie

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 04:42 PM

I think M'Villa is the hottest prospect French youngster in Ligue 1 at this moment, although only 21 but this kid is amazingly mature for his age and surprised everyone by his potential, already convinced Blanc and established himself as the integral part in the France national team representing his country at every level from the international matches, 100% guarantee sure he already secured his place and will be participated in the Euro2012 for France baring any injury problem.

M'Vila is a hard-working, steely defensive midfielder, very good ball movement, a tidy passer of the ball and protects the shields well. I've seen some of his games, mainly with France and was really impressed by his display, other than he is young, energetic, strong, and calm, but he also possess a great deal of technique and he can win the ball back with a tackle one moment and then straight away split the defense open with a killer pass.

I rated him highly and reckon that he got all the characteristics required to become a top-level player in the coming years. A star in the future to me.

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#4   Sapiéntia

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 05:02 PM

Great idea, Greg! Nice first choice too, a player that is definitely going to be on everyone's radar come this summer with an increase in his pricetag depending on his performances at Euro2012 which I think i can safely assume he will be a part of.

He's such an immense player with great physical strength. Whenever I see him play for Les Bleus, I cannot believe he's 21. He doesn't ever seem out of focus and always plays so disciplined. He's not one to make hasty tackles or dangerous passes and I can't really remember many times when he has put the ball in a dangerous situation for his team. He's also got a very level head and I've never seen him lose his temper despite playing in a position where he faces many challenges. He's definitely not the first person that I would blame for a goal because it's not very often he has a defensive lapse.

I guess the only thing that I would say he could improve on is maybe getting the ball forward a bit more because with M'vila you have a player with great defensive abilities but offensively he will rely more on his partner in midfield to get things going. He doesn't link up as well with forwards but then again that's not really his job in the team although I think it would add another dimension to his play. But for me, he has the potential be the top DM in Europe and is possibly one of the best in France. He displaced Alou Diarra, who was a favourite of Blanc's, as soon as he started playing for Les Bleus. In particular, when we faced Albania and he was forced off due to injury, our passing in midfield suddenly seemed more disjointed and it suddenly seemed like we were missing the 'piece'.


His ball retention is one of the better aspects of his game, and he doesn't just pass the ball from side to side, either. As you mentioned, his disciplinary record is rather impressive for a player who is subject to making a lot of challenges within a game. He's robust in the tackle and displays an inspiring work ethic on the pitch, but he's a little slow. Obviously I'm nit-picking because pace isn't a necessity for a player in his position, but that's something he's more than capable of playing without. He's an industrious player who plays with elegance and intelligence and is definitely a hot prospect in French football.

After cementing his spot in France's midfield with countless, consistently impressive displays, I started to take notice of M'Vila and have since played very close attention to him and his style of play. He's very good on the ball as well as off it, and could easily be adapted into a more advanced role if need be, for club or for country.

I rated him highly and reckon that he got all the characteristics required to become a top-level player in the coming years. A star in the future to me.


I do too, but I fear that his maturity on this pitch will tempt quite a lot of "bigger" clubs to come in for him in either January or the summer. The question is... how long will he be plying his trade in Ligue 1 before departing for a bigger club in a bigger league? I hope if he is to move anywhere in the next couple of transfer windows that it's to another French club, though I feel he'd be able to fit in nicely amongst the majority of midfield's in Europe right now.

Edited by 0, 23 September 2012 - 04:10 AM.


#5   noobie

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 05:19 PM

Indeed I already read a lot of news speculating Arsenal, Man Utd, Chelsea, Liverpool, Real Madrid, AC Milan and Juventus were all linking up a move with him in the past transfer rumors, but I think Rennes would likely rejects the approaches since M'Villa has also recently extended his contact to the club which the deal will keep him at the club until 2014 so I don't see Rennes selling their star midfielder in the current season January transfer market, but after the end of the campaign it's doable.

And as always and same here, I actually prefer to see him lands in either one of these Ligue 1 giants (Marseille, Lyon or PSG) as his next step forward destination before making another move aboard to a top European club.

:harhar:

Edited by 0, 07 December 2011 - 05:20 PM.

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#6   Sapiéntia

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 01:55 AM

It doesn't seem as though Yann M'Vila's creating too much "discussion", so I'm open to ideas as to who'll be next in the spotlight.

#7   Cool Display Name

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 02:12 AM

Is it just me or does he give off a Viera-esque vibe?
"People may doubt what you say, but they will believe what you do"
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#8   Sapiéntia

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Posted 07 January 2012 - 02:26 AM

Is it just me or does he give off a Viera-esque vibe?


No, I definitely see where you're coming from. Though I would throw out that I believe M'Vila to be more technically-gifted than Vieira was. It's difficult comparing past players to present ones, but he does play similarly to Vieira, I must admit.

Edited by 0, 23 September 2012 - 04:10 AM.


#9   la périphérique

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 11:53 PM

I would really enjoy playing apart in an in-depth discussion of a player like M'Vila, as he is player who has always enticed me just from his description and the praise and hearing a comparison to Vieira only leaves me more parched. The issue is that I never watch Rennes games, my internet causes me to choose when to stream and not stream because it is hardly worth it. So I'm left always saying no, or there is a conflict with an Arsenal or PSG game. I haven't caught many Les Bleus games recently and the ones I did didn't feature him but I always have an intent on keeping an eye on him.

#10   nakuu

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Posted 27 January 2012 - 04:55 AM

Les Gardiens

I've always taken a liking to goalkeepers, or maybe that's because I'm fortunate to follow a team that has keepers that will make saves that take your breath away :P I've also thought France had some of the top keepers for the past few years and always wondered why they haven't been picked up by bigger teams in Europe. And in no particular order...

Steve Mandanda

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I still remember his first start like it was yesterday. Well, not really... I forgot who we were playing but I remember the panic among les Marseillais when it was confirmed not even halfway into the season that Cedric Carrasso had suffered one of those season ending injuries. It was time for Steve to step into his first start for l'OM. He was a relative unknown having spent his career at Le Havre before he joined Marseille, with an unsuccessful trial at Aston Villa inbetween.

There was a lot of uncertainty about him and knowing that we would be stuck with him for the next 6 months meant a lot of fans were holding their breath. He stopped every shot that came at him in his first start and showed the confidence and class of a top keeper. His reflexes exhibited his youth and quickness but his strength in the air also exuded a certain kind of presence that was not common to such young keepers. Steve was on top form no matter the opposition (in particular, I remember a point blank save he made against PSG that I will forever love him for). He firmly established himself as a top keeper in France and earned himself a debut for Les Bleus only a year after joining Marseille. His performances for l'OM meant that he edged out fan favourite Carrasso who would depart on good terms for Toulouse.

Hugo Lloris

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Oh Hugo... it's so hard to hate you with a face like that. Why do french keepers have such baby faces? Anyway...Lloris began his career at Nice but didn't start playing regularly until his second season there in which he only conceded 36 goals - the only keepers that conceded fewer were Coupet, Rame and Carraso. His performances at Nice earned him a reputation and Lyon came beckoning. It was with les gones that he was named "Top goalkeeper of the year" although he joined the team the one year they did not win a title after seven years of domination. He had large boots to fill as well as gregory coupet had just departed the club, a highly respected goalkeeper in Lyon.

He took little time to adapt with the French champions and was awarded the "player of the month" award in the 2009/2010 season, the second goalkeeper to receive this award after Mandanda. In particular, his performances in the Champions League earned him a lot of respect but his saves that ensured France's qualification into the 2010 WC was widely praised and many nicknamed him "Saint Lloris".. His shot stopping ability and general calmness in goal have helped his team on many occasions - a particular one being the time Lyon defied expectations by beating Real Madrid in the knockout stage of the CL the season they had bought Lyon's star player Karim Benzema.

I'd just like to say that I do rate Mandanda over Lloris and I don't think it's the Marseille bias! I admit I have not watched Lloris as much but there are times where he has given up a really bad rebound from his save or he hasn't sufficiently smothered the ball allowing it to slip out from under him and giving the opposing team a chance to steal the ball. He was guilty of this at Nice and he repeated it in a few high profile matches for Lyon and Les Bleus. Although he did redeem himself magnificiently in subseqent matches and sometimes in the same game in which he made the error. I do recognize that Mandanda is not as strong as Lloris in terms of aerial ability but I think Steve has improved greatly upon this and I definitely do not fear him dropping the ball when he tries to collect from the corner now. Lloris does have the upper hand in stopping penalties though.

Some final thoughts:

Carrasso - Great keeper with lots of potential when he was at Marseille although he seemed to produce saves in a very unorthodox manner (almost Barthez-esque). He was a fiery individual who liked to dash at oncoming strikers and luckily he was able to put off the attacker most of the time to prevent the goal although I think he has also been guilty of committing one too many unnecessary fouls. His departure to Toulouse did wonders for his career and confidence, that time out due to injury and then on the bench after he was displaced by Mandanda seemed to light some fire in him as he became one of the most reliable keepers in France.

Stephane Ruffier - A very underrated keeper imo, who replaces another underrated keeper Jeremie Janot who has been at St. Etienne for yeaaaars. Janot is also badass, he has a tatto on the back of his head so you know not to fuck with him. He's reliable and an all-around superb keeper who has a great physical presence when he goes to collect the ball or make a save.

Landreau - boy...what the hell happened to him? I felt like ever since he let in that goal from McFadden (it was a nice strike), he never quite recovered from that. The crushing blow of losing to Scotland twice, once at Hampden Park and again in Paris might've been a lot to put on his shoulders. All faith was lost in him hereafter. I recall him being decent at stopping penalties though.


#11   la périphérique

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 10:56 PM

France is indeed stacked with some fantastic goalkeeping, especially in the South. Marseille was very fortunate to have both Mandanda and Carrasso in their midst, I've seen performances from both and I'm really glad Carrasso was allowed to leave Marseille because he certainly doesn't deserve to be benched. To be honest, I tend to agree that Mandanda is better than Lloris. As you've touched on, I've seen some mistakes from Lloris that, from the limited things I've seen, Mandanda doesn't seem likely to do.

#12   nakuu

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 11:47 PM

Moving to Toulouse was one of the best decisions Carrasso ever made. The fact that Mandanda displaced him might've given him a kick in the pants that he needed to realize that he needed to prove himself all over again, he was replacing douchez as well who had left to rennes that summer. His performances for bordeaux were nothing short of fantastic too. It's sad that he's probably going to end up like Frey, kept out of the national set-up despite being a top keeper.

#13   Cool Display Name

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 02:13 AM

Huge is just a likeable guy. The twoish seasons that Bordeaux went toe-to-toe with Lyon I sometimes enjoyed watching Hugo go airborne.

except the save that basically kicked us out of the CL. That sucked

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If you must cheat, cheat death.
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#14   Wrighty

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 02:49 PM

I'd like to hear thoughts on Clement Grenier from Lyon. He impressed me during the U20 WC in the summer and I've seen him in a couple of sub appearences for Lyon this season where he did well. Looks like the type of midfielder France has been missing for some time now.
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#15   Sapiéntia

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 05:52 PM

Les Gardiens


First of all, what a fantastic post. You dedicate the majority of the post to the two French 'keepers I'm familiar with, so I'm able to comment on them. However, out of the other three, I've seen very little. I've seen Landreau a few times where he's impressed, but it's not substantial enough to pass judgement on.

I also agree that Mandada is the better 'keeper, overall. Lloris is evidently an outstanding goalkeeper - one of the world's finest - but there's just something about Steve that's so endearing. It's even harder not to like Mandanda, and he's not half a bad 'keeper, either. He knows that he's not the greatest 'keeper in the world and he's aware of his flaws. It's glaringly obvious that he knows this and is working hard, attempting to continually improve himself.

France are blessed with goalkeeping ability. Thanks to Joe Hart, England's goalkeeping dilemma doesn't look so bad, but if he was to ever pick up a prolonged injury... then we have no back-up. All the stand-ins are ridiculously poor. Les Bleus ought to think themselves lucky!

Edited by 0, 23 September 2012 - 04:11 AM.